Child Psychology: Nature Vs. Nurture
As far as controversies inchild psychologygo, there are few issues more widely debated than the issue of natureversus nurture. This hot button topic has been the source of many studies, experiments, reports and research overthe past two centuries, yet still remains unsolved.Many researchers have sought to determine if a child’s heritage or environment plays a greater role on his or herdevelopment, but have been unable to clearly delineate which traits result from which factor. In modern childpsychology, there are researchers who support the influence of nature, those who believe in the influence of nurture, and those who believe the two are intrinsically intertwined.
Nature Theory Points to Genetic Heritability
Supporters of the nature side believe that a child’s development is primarily influenced by his or her biology. Foryears it has been perfectly clear to scientists that many of a child’s traits, such as eye color and hair color, areinherited through genes from the child’s parents. However, proponents of the nature theory also believe that manyof a child’s other traits, such as personality, intelligence and evensexual orientation,may also be genetically
influenced.Many researchers in child psychology have undertaken studies that look at twins separated at birth in order todetermine their similarities. In many cases, these studies have found that despite growing up in separateenvironments, the twins still share fundamental similarities that go beyond coincidence. These studies lendsupport to the nature theory.
Nurture Theory Focuses on Environment and Parenting
Researchers on the side of the nurture theory disagree. They do not dispute the genetic importance of physicaltraits like eye color, but they believe that a child’s behavior and personality is far more a product of the child’senvironment. In studying the child psychology of siblings, or even twins separated at birth, researchers have